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‘Hat-trick of howlers’ – Forest question VAR and ‘consider options’



Nottingham Forest say they are “considering their options” over “extremely poor” refereeing decisions following their 2-0 defeat at Everton.

The club said they had “warned” the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) that “the VAR is a Luton fan but they didn’t change him”.

“Three extremely poor decisions – three penalties not given – which we simply cannot accept,” the club said on X.external-link

“Our patience has been tested multiple times.”

Although they did not name the official, the video assistant referee was Stuart Attwell.

Nottingham Forest issued the highly critical post on the social network on Sunday at 15:42 BST, about five minutes after full-time in the match at Goodison Park – which left the club one point above the relegation zone.

Questioned about the club’s post, Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo said it was “not important if he [Attwell] is a fan of another club”.

He added: “I share the feeling of the club because is it not only this game. It is has been a while that we have had poor decisions going against us. It is not an excuse but we are not happy with the work of the referees.”

BBC Sport is contacting referees’ board the PGMOL for comment, and understands the Football Association is aware of the post and investigating.

‘I don’t understand the decision’ – what happened to anger Forest?

All three penalty claims centred on incidents involving Everton’s veteran ex-England defender Ashley Young.

Forest felt he caught the back of Gio Reyna’s boot in attempting to make a tackle when the game was goalless.

Then, late in the first half, after Everton had taken the lead, a Callum Hudson-Odoi cross struck Young on the arm.

Nottingham Forest’s handball claim against Ashley Young happened just before half-time, with Everton leading 1-0

The third incident happened after the interval, with the Toffees still 1-0 ahead, as Young tangled with Hudson-Odoi in the area but the officials ruled he had won the ball cleanly.

“I don’t understand the reason and the decision of [referee] Anthony Taylor and VAR Stuart Attwell, because I see the images,” Nuno told Sky Sports.

“It is hard to take. There is a penalty on Gio Reyna, it’s a kick, don’t tell me that is not contact. It’s a penalty, then a handball, then the situation of the incident with Callum.

“So it’s understandable that we react like this as a club because we want to get things right. We don’t want bad referees. We want good decisions.

“OK, if we lost the game today and there were no incidents, we take it.”

‘A hat-trick of howlers’ – Clattenburg has his say

The Daily Mail’s website published a column on Sunday night by Mark Clattenburg, the retired referee who is Forest’s referee analyst, defending the club’s response.

He wrote: “One of these errors would have been bad enough. Three was a joke, and that is why Nottingham Forest were left feeling victimised after another defeat in which zero big decisions went their way.

“In a season where they have had to endure some egregious refereeing, this trip to Everton was as grim a game as they have encountered since returning to the Premier League.

“These situations were precisely why video technology was brought into the Premier League and yet, Attwell did not send Taylor to his monitor. Not once. It was a hat-trick of howlers from the refereeing team and, unfortunately for Forest, a continuation of an unjust trend that has hampered their survival fight.

“You will have seen the statement released by the club – how the PGMOL were contacted to warn that it was not appropriate for a Luton fan such as Attwell to play such a pivotal role in a massive match that would impact the relegation race.”

How did we get here?

In August, Forest lodged a complaint with the PGMOL over the performance of the officials in their 3-2 defeat at Manchester United.

Then in March, Clattenburg criticised the officiating in the build-up to Liverpool’s dramatic winner at the City Ground.

Forest are still hoping to get some respite from their appeal against the deduction of four points for breaching profit and sustainability rules.

BBC Radio 5 Live’s football correspondent John Murray said: “Mark Clattenburg was once considered the best referee we had in this country, he has now got a role with Nottingham Forest – you would think he would be very much involved with this.

“So Nottingham Forest with that statement will be confident with what they are saying, but I still think it is a remarkable thing to say.

“The FA, Howard Webb and the PGMOL – it will certainly ruffle feathers from them. What they have to say about this is the next step.”

Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy told BBC Match of the Day: “A bizarre situation that has has shocked us all. There was some poor decision making but the response is strange.

“I have always felt our referees try to do the best they can. There has been a lot of bad officiating and incompetency this season and today was the same. “

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